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Urban Studies

Recommended resources for getting started with research in Urban Studies


This guide presents a selection of resources to help you get started with your research in Urban Studies. Use the menu on the left to navigate through the different sections of this guide. 

If you would like assistance locating resources, developing your topic, or have any other questions, please reach out by email or schedule a consultation


As an interdisciplinary field, urban studies research will require you to use approaches, perspectives and evidence from a number of different subject areas. 

You may find yourself using collections pertaining to art and architecture, economics, education, geography, history, political science, and sociology, in order to locate books, articles, maps, data, primary sources and other resources.

Begin with Library Search to explore the resources available to you through Vassar. 


Using a combination of keywords and subject headings will likely bring you the most success when searching for relevant sources, particularly so when conducting interdisciplinary research. 

  • keywords - words that describe the main concepts of your research 
    • for exp. blockbusting; urban life; built environment
  • subject headings - controlled vocabulary that describe a topic and subtopic in a standardized, consistent way
    • for exp. Cities and towns; Cities, countries, regions; Community development; Architecture; Land use; Education, urban; Sociology, urban; Housing policy; Inner cities; Urban economics; Urban geography; Urban policy; Urban renewal; Urban studies

Library of Congress (LC) subject heading classifications are most commonly used, however article databases, such a JSTOR, may use their own subject headings. Find subject headings by viewing the full details of the source, use the database's subject list/ thesaurus if available, or look to filter your search results by subject. 


Access subscription databases and ereserves from off campus through the proxy server. Log in using your Vassar OneLogin credentials. If you have problems, email Once you log in successfully, you will be taken to the Libraries' home page. If you are already on campus, you'll simply be taken to the Libraries' home page.

Please note: only current faculty, students, and staff may access licensed resources.